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Scrap metal licences

Apply for a scrap metal dealer's licence

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 [the Act] was passed on 28 February 2013 and came into force on 1 October 2013. The local authority and the police have powers to enter and inspect premises.

How to apply

There are two types of licence: a site licence and a collector's licence.

  • Site licence - all sites where a licensee carries on business as a scrap metal dealer have to be identified and a site manager has to be named for each site. This licence allows the licensee to transport scrap metal to and from those sites from any local authority area
  • Collector's licence - this allows the licensee to operate as a collector in the area of the issuing local authority. It does not allow the collector to operate in any other local authority area, so a separate licence has to be obtained from each council the collector wishes to operate in. The licence does not authorise the licensee to operate a site; to do so they will need a site licence from the relevant local authority

Both types of licence are covered by the same application form and you must provide supporting documentation, as detailed on the application form. This should be returned with the fee, to the licensing team.


  • Grant of a Site Licence (3 years) - £750
  • Grant of a Collector’s Licence (3 years) - £300


The Act defines a scrap metal dealer as a person who is for the time being carrying on a business as a scrap metal dealer, whether or not authorised by a licence. It states that scrap metal includes:

  • any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic material; and
  • any product, article or assembly which is made from or contains metal and is broken, worn out or regarded by its last holder as having reached the end of its useful life

The following are not considered to be scrap metal:

  • gold/silver/any alloy of which two per cent or more by weight is attributable to gold or silver

Key features of the Act

  • All individuals and businesses complete an enhanced application process to obtain a scrap metal dealer licence. Local authorities will have the power to turn down unsuitable applicants
  • Local authorities have the power to revoke a licence
  • All sellers of metal to provide personal identification at the point of sale, which is recorded by the scrap metal dealer
  • Extending the offence of buying metal with cash to itinerant metal collectors
  • New powers for the police and local authorities to enter and inspect sites
  • Creating a central public register, hosted by the Environment Agency, of all individuals and businesses licensed as scrap metal dealers
  • Widening the definition of a scrap metal dealer to include motor salvage operators

The Environment Agency holds a national register of all licences issued under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

Last updated Wednesday, 2nd August 2023

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